The Health Minister of Kerala, Veena George, has provided reassurance that the Nipah virus situation in the state is effectively under control. She stated that there are 352 individuals listed as high-risk contacts, and healthcare workers are actively engaged in implementing preventive measures in areas where Nipah cases have been confirmed.
Currently, there have been no new reported cases, and there is promising news regarding the health of a nine-year-old boy who is now off the ventilator and receiving oxygen support.
The minister further informed that a total of 1233 individuals are on the contact list, with 23 patients admitted to the medical college and four at the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). Notably, 36 bat samples have been collected and sent for testing, while extensive house visits have been conducted in 34,167 households as part of Nipah precautions.
However, discussions have emerged regarding the health department’s lapse in creating a comprehensive contact list for Nipah-infected patients. This issue gained attention when it was confirmed that Harris, a resident of Mangladu, had succumbed to Nipah on September 11. A public notice regarding the places he visited, including Vadakara government district hospital, was released the next day.
Harris had visited the district hospital on September 10, spending several hours there, and the health department advised individuals present during his visit to contact them and undergo home quarantine. This notice, however, was only issued five days after Harris’s death.
The challenge in identifying patients present at the same time at the hospital was exacerbated by the lack of contact information for those individuals. The health department had to rely on CCTV footage for identification, which proved to be a challenging task.
Additionally, there was an error in identifying the mosque Harris had visited, causing unnecessary concern among the public. The corrected notice specified the correct mosque, emphasizing the importance of accurate information dissemination to avoid causing undue panic.